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Tulane seeks financial aid, hopes to raise at least $1 billion

Photo provided by Wikimedia Commons -- Tulane University Gibson Hall

Tulane University is quietly soliciting donations for an ambitious fundraising campaign that aims to raise at least $1 billion, some of which may be used to improve financial aid and build new student housing and another campus dining hall. “We are clearly talking to many people who are very close to the institution about our goals,”… Continue reading →

N.O. school officials reach settlement in special education lawsuit; monitor to oversee reforms

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The new Orleans Parish School Board was inaugurated at Edward Hynes Charter School Monday January 14, 2013.The board is comprised of Nolan Marshall, Woody Koppel, Seth Bloom, Stanley Smith, interim superintendent (not a board member) Leslie Ellison, Sarah Usdin, Cynthia Cade and Ira Thomas.   .MAGS OUT / INTERNET  OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ JOHN McCUSKER

Lawyers representing a group of students and their families in New Orleans have reached a landmark deal with public school officials on improving special education services — a settlement that will require close scrutiny of practices among the city’s independent charter schools. If a federal judge approves the agreement, it would be the… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board member wants controversial vote changed

Michael Delesdernier

Michael Delesdernier, who is leaving the Jefferson Parish School Board next month after a failed re-election bid, raised eyebrows this week with one of his final acts as a board member, voting to have the school district reimburse the legal expenses he piled up in a dispute with another board member. Now, even though… Continue reading →

Jeff School Board member casts decisive vote to have board pay his legal fees

Michael Delesdernier

In what appeared to be a violation of the state’s Code of Ethics, a Jefferson Parish School Board member voted Wednesday night to reimburse himself for legal fees stemming from a case he brought against another board member. Michael Delesdernier’s vote to have taxpayers pay the roughly $8,000 in legal fees he racked up… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish School Board could choose new superintendent Tuesday

The Orleans Parish School Board will take another shot at hiring a permanent superintendent at its meeting Tuesday evening. The board invited candidates Debbra Lindo, Katrise Perera and Henderson Lewis for a second round of interviews this week. And the board’s agenda for Tuesday includes a closed-door session to discuss their qualifications, followed by a public… Continue reading →

Student deaths inspire new focus on mental health at Tulane

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH --Tulane campus

After the deaths this semester of five students, including three who apparently committed suicide, officials at Tulane University are working to get the Uptown campus talking about mental health. They also are trying to remove social barriers that may keep some students from seeking help as they adjust to college life. The untimely deaths began in… Continue reading →

School Board discusses suing RSD to prevent it from opening new schools

The Orleans Parish School Board met in closed session Thursday to consider suing the Recovery School District to try to prevent it from reopening shuttered schools, particularly John McDonogh and Sarah T. Reed high schools. No vote was taken when the board returned to public session, and the issue will go before the board again Tuesday.… Continue reading →

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan takes jab at Louisiana officials over Common Core in New Orleans speech

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are greeted at Arthur Ashe Charter School in Gentilly with the school's band playing

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan took a veiled jab at some Louisiana officials Thursday, telling a New Orleans audience that he doesn’t care whether or not states adopt the Common Core standards but that whatever they do instead should be equally rigorous. “What we’ve done is encourage states to raise their standards,” Duncan told a crowd… Continue reading →

N.O. school officials near settlement on special education lawsuit

The parties involved in a class-action lawsuit over special education services in New Orleans are close to a settlement, according to new court filings, but details of any proposed agreement were not available Wednesday. The Southern Poverty Law Center and a group of families filed the lawsuit in 2010, alleging that students with special needs had… Continue reading →

Dr. King School becomes first RSD charter to seek return to School Board oversight

Photo provided by GoogleMaps -- Dr. King Charter School

Friends of King Schools made history Tuesday by becoming the first Recovery School District charter school board to seek to return a campus to the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board. The King board opted to leave a system built on choice, the all-charter RSD, by exercising its right to choose a different oversight board.… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board majority flips to pro-union side

For four years, local business interests have enjoyed majority representation on the Jefferson Parish School Board, watching in satisfaction as the five board members they backed successfully in 2010 elections enacted key elements of the business groups’ plan to improve the parish’s school system. But after voters sent two teachers union-backed candidates into office in Saturday’s… Continue reading →

No confidence vote in Fos approved by UNO faculty

Peter Fos

Faculty members at the University of New Orleans passed a vote of no confidence Friday in the school’s president, Peter Fos, a day after he announced plans to eliminate seven academic programs and cut more than two dozen faculty and staff positions. The largely symbolic vote was passed by a majority of Faculty Council… Continue reading →

UNO to end seven degree programs, cut more jobs to save millions

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  UNO President Peter Foss enters a news conference where he announced the university's Academic Program Restructuring at Thursday, December 4, 2014.

Six months after forming a working group to assess his financially hard-pressed school’s strengths and find ways to trim costs, University of New Orleans President Peter Fos said Thursday that he intends initially to eliminate seven academic programs, one department and 26 faculty and staff positions in an effort to save $1 million this academic year and $2.8… Continue reading →

Michael Mizell-Nelson, ‘people’s historian’ at UNO, dies at 49

Michael Mizell-Nelson

When Michael Mizell-Nelson was in high school, he’d ride the streetcar from his parents’ home on Newcomb Boulevard to Benjamin Franklin High School on South Carrollton Avenue. The commute, unspectacular to some, was a seminal experience in the career of the future University of New Orleans history professor, for it was during those trips that he… Continue reading →

Honduran students swell Jefferson Parish public school enrollment

Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent James Meza has to manage growth of nearly 1.500 more students than from 2013 school year.

Enrollment at Jefferson Parish’s public schools swelled by almost 1,500 students in the current school year, with the lion’s share of the increase coming from Hispanic children — mostly Honduran — who came to the New Orleans area this summer after fleeing their strife-ridden Central American communities. The enrollment figures, which are reported twice a year… Continue reading →

Public schools in New Orleans agree to remove signs on tax vote

The Orleans Parish School Board and several charter schools have agreed to remove banners encouraging people to vote on a school facility tax on the ballot in Saturday’s election. The decision came after attorneys met behind closed doors with a Civil District Court judge on Monday. Willie Zanders, the lawyer representing several community groups, filed a… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish school desegregation task force to meet

The task force charged with ensuring the Jefferson Parish school system complies with a desegregation order will hold two public meetings this week to get input on whether the district is complying with those requirements. The Dandridge Task Force stems from a decades-old desegregation lawsuit that was finally resolved three years ago. The settlement… Continue reading →

300,000 images later, Loyola University photographer is retiring

Photo provided by Loyola University -- Harold Baquet receives the Loyola President's Medal in 2010.

The numbers are impressive: some 125 graduations, 50 new student and faculty convocations, thousands of hours shooting photos in classrooms, not to mention alumni parties, athletic events and pep rallies. It all adds up to 25 years that photographer Harold Baquet has spent capturing every aspect of life on Loyola University’s Uptown campus. If those numbers… Continue reading →

Group hopes to restore long-vacant Leon Godchaux High in Reserve

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- The old Godchaux Grammar school in Reserve on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.

Efforts are underway to restore a nearly century-old high school building in St. John the Baptist Parish that has fallen into disrepair — a project that could cost close to $5 million. The two-story Leon Godchaux High School, near the intersection of West 10th Street and River Road in Reserve, has been sitting vacant since the… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish School Board unsuccessful so far in luring Recovery School District charters back

Coleman Ridley

If the Orleans Parish School Board wants to draw academically successful charter schools back into its folds, those sought-after schools have a bit of advice: Polish your sales pitch, and explain what’s in it for us. The board of Crescent City Schools, which operates three charter schools in New Orleans, last week chided an OPSB… Continue reading →

Judge says tax vote banners on N.O. public schools can stay up for now

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A group called

Orleans Parish School Board employees can no longer hang new signs at local campuses urging people to vote on an upcoming tax measure for public schools, but they do not have to take down existing signs, a judge ruled Tuesday. The signs don’t explicitly ask people to vote for the measure, but Civil District Court Judge… Continue reading →

Tulane gets $14.5 million gift to create Center for Social Innovation

Phyllis M. Taylor

Tulane University announced plans Monday to create a new center focusing on social innovation and entrepreneurship, using a nearly $15 million gift from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. The $14.5 million donation from Phyllis Taylor, the foundation’s chairwoman and a member of Tulane’s board, will go toward establishing the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation… Continue reading →

Most local charter school boards electing to stay in RSD

In the past couple of weeks, several charter school boards in New Orleans have had what, for some of them, is an annual discussion: whether to leave the state-run Recovery School District and return to the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board. Four charter organizations have taken up the issue so far.… Continue reading →